Saying Goodbye to Lyric Soprano Barbara Cook

By Jonathan Spira on 19 December 2017
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The Broadway community gathered together Monday night at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center to honor one of its own, Barbara Cook, who died on August 8, 2017.

“A Tribute to Barbara Cook” looked back at the star’s career that began in the golden age of Broadway musicals and was reborn in later years in concert halls and cabarets. Ms. Cook won a Tony Award in 1958 for her performance as Marian the Librarian in “The Music Man.” She also starred in Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” in 1956 as well as in revivals of “Carousel” and “Show Boat.” In 2010, at the age of 82, she was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in “Sondheim on Sondheim.”

In the course of her life – she was 89 when she died – she overcame depression, obesity, and alcoholism to reemerge triumphantly as the star she was.


Friends, who included luminaries such as Frank Langella and Jane Summerhays, reminisced over Cook’s late night proclivities, which included e-mails in the early morning hours and intimate performances for friends.

Performers who were influenced by Cook, including Kelli O’Hara, Renée Fleming, Audra McDonald, Vanessa Williams, and Norm Lewis took to the stage at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre to sing in her memory.

At the conclusion, Ms. Cook’s son, actor Adam LeGrant, spoke movingly about life with his mother.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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